by Liz Jansen
Applying the brakes reduces your speed. Whether that means slowing down or coming to a full stop depends on the situation and how you decide to respond. Braking is something that is completely under your control. It’s a decision you must make. No one else can make it for you.
Sometimes, when life gets challenging, it’s tempting to stop. But that won’t get you through the rough stuff, and can even make things more difficult. Stopping is not always the best alternative.
These are good reasons to use the brakes.
- Roadblocks. Something is between you and your goal. You can’t get around it. The only option is to stop, review your alternatives, and either select another route to get there or wait it out.
- Construction. Moving along at the posted speed, you see the “Construction Ahead” and “Reduce Speed Ahead” signs. Although you know there will be changes, you don’t know specifically what they are. Even as you’re moving, conditions change, and you need to be able to respond accordingly. Slowing down gives you time to assess and manage the situation as you navigate through it.
- Caution sign. Whether it’s a posted sign or an amber light, you’re being told to slow down because you’re entering an area with greater risk. Your intuition is your guide on your life’s Road. When it advises you to slow down, heed it. It’s telling you that for a reason, even if you can’t see it.
- Red light. Usually there’s been some warning before you have to come to a complete stop. Ignoring the signs and running the lights places you—and others—in great peril. Stay alert, and listen to that inner voice telling you to stop.
- Traffic congestion. It’s amazing how quickly the road can change from unobstructed to jammed or to stop-and-go. Things happen outside of your control, where your only alternative is to apply the brakes. Staying alert to what’s going on around you allows you to adjust your speed accordingly until you can remove yourself from the situation or the situation clears.
- Poor visibility. Fog, heavy rain, glare, and darkness reduce your visibility. You can’t see your goal. Sometimes challenges you’re dealing with seem overwhelming, and you can no longer see where your Road is leading. Slow down to a safe speed until the way clears.
- Mechanical problems. Ill health can cause you to slow down or even stop. The sooner you tend to health problems, the quicker you can either adjust to them or move past them and continue on your journey.
- Out of gas. If you’re getting low on fuel, you’ll need to stop and fill up. Planning rest stops and pacing yourself are important parts of a successful journey.
- Rain. Encountering rain while riding your motorcycle is akin to challenges that pop up on your life’s Road. Rain in and of itself is not always a reason to stop moving. While it’s prudent to reduce your speed, especially when the rain starts and makes the road slick, you may also need to stop and put on your rain gear. The challenges you face may require you to stop and prepare before proceeding. If safety becomes an issue, then you will need to stop until the danger passes. Otherwise, put on your rain gear and keep riding.
- Time to rest. Sometimes you just need to pull over for a break and rest before continuing on. Doing so can make the difference between arriving safely at your destination—or not.
Unless there’s an immediate safety concern, whether you’re on your motorcycle or your life’s Road, it’s usually advisable to reduce your speed and keep going rather than stop. Brakes can get you in trouble if they’re used inappropriately.
Keeping your eyes on where you want to go, and having the skill and knowing when to use brakes, determines how successfully you will be in navigating your road. You alone are in control.
If you do decide to stop, staying focused on where you’re going and drawing on alternative resources will get you on your way again—and teach you about yourself in the process.
Read more life tips in 75 Tips for Mastering your Controls. Free Download for a limited time.